QHotels Collection focuses on apprenticeships to ease recruitment crisis

European Spa speaks exclusively to group director of golf, leisure and spa at The QHotels Collection, Keith Pickard


By Wendy Golledge

12 December 2023

QHotels Collection has remastered its apprentice training programme to include beginners who are new to the industry.

The brand launched its Spa Academy initiative to encourage people to assist those already working in wellness in 2021.

In partnership with Elemis, QHotels has introduced a dynamic personal career pathway for its spa teams.

Initially, the Academy was open to therapists wishing to progress from Level 2 to Level 3m but new people are now being encouraged into the industry at beginner level.

An aerial view of a stately home in autumn
QHotels' Norton Park Hotel in Winchester

Creating spa career development pathways

QHotels apprentice scheme will be provided by Armonia Training Academy.

“A core pillar for us is training our people,” explains group director of golf, leisure and spa at The QHotels Collection, Keith Pickard.

“By creating a development pathway our apprentices can see the training they’ll be getting, how long they can expect to be in each position and ultimately how they’re able to make spa their vocation.

“This allows us to grow and nurture our own talent and become a recruiter of choice.

“We could have the vey best product, revenue strategies and marketing campaigns, but if we don’t have the best people we’re going to fail, so investing in people is a business policy across QHotels.”

Man in tweed jacket smiling at camera

“Spa was hurt quite badly by Covid; we struggled to retain our people, leaving a shortage of therapists. Now the sector is picking up we’re investing in apprenticeships to do something about this.”

Keith Pickard

Group director of golf, leisure and spa, The QHotels Collection

QHotels growth and development plans

“We have witnessed unparalleled revenue growth via spa over the last three years,” continues Pickard.

“Day spa especially has grown at pace. Our residential versus day booking used to be 50/50 but now it’s a 65% bias towards day spa.”

To meet demand, the brand has invested approximately £1.5m in rolling spa upgrades over last two years, refurbishing and refreshing its 17 spas.

There are plans in place to enhance its overall spa proposition in the coming year.

“We’re looking to make four of our spas premium standalone destination facilities,” says Pickard.

“Among our 20 properties we have some wonderful grounds, so our focus will be taking advantage of this to create more garden spa experiences, with hydro and infinity pools, pods and enhanced thermal experiences reaching out into the estates and grounds.

“We are also exploring ways to overhaul our spa offer, making the spa journey separate to the leisure facilities.”

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